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The holiday season is usually a time of celebration, happiness, and relaxation. For a lot of people, it can also be a time of anxiety–especially when it comes to travelling. Whether it is by plane, car, bus, boat or train, travelling can be a particularly stressful experience.
There are, however, ways to overcome travel anxiety so you can fully enjoy yourself, which is what the holiday season is all about!
Travelling by plane can be the most stressful of all holiday experiences. Airports can be busy and loud, and flying can often trigger anxiety, stopping you from really enjoying your trip. When I begin to feel anxious on an aeroplane, I practise my favourite breathing techniques and try to distract myself by listening to some music.
Music can be a really powerful tool in combatting anxiety.
Choose some tunes capable of helping calm you down (often music with a slow tempo works). Create a playlist on Spotify, iTunes, or your favourite music player. This way you can make sure you always have your music with you, on your phone or mp3 player, at the very moment you need it.
If travelling by car fuels your anxiety, organising stops along the way to break up the trip is important.
This way you can get out, stretch your legs, and get some much-needed fresh air. While moving, try not to just focus on things within the car–watch what’s happening around you.
When travelling on public transport, keeping your cool can be tricky. One way to make the trip easier is to make sure you’re seated by yourself, if possible. If not, pick an aisle seat. This way you can get up and easily remove yourself from any situation making you uncomfortable. Keeping yourself occupied can also help, be it with a book, movie, or game on your phone.
One thing always sparking my anxiety while travelling is my phone going flat.
I like to use my phone as a calming tool when I’m feeling worried and I use it to stay in close contact with my friends and family. Being cut off can feel very uncomfortable, so I always carry a portable phone charger with me to avoid that situation. It’s a good idea to invest in a charger you can keep in in your bag, if you can, or utilise your phone’s low-battery mode if necessary.
If you are able to write while you are on your journey, this can help you to evaluate your feelings.
Try out a stream of consciousness—-simply write down every single thing coming into your head for ten minutes. This can help you to filter out the clutter in your mind, bringing your attention to the present. You could also try creating a gratitude list or simply journaling about exactly what you’re feeling.
If you’re travelling with someone else, talk to them about your anxieties.
Sharing how you’re feeling with someone else can be therapeutic, but it also teaches your travel buddies to recognise signs you are feeling stressed and gives them some ideas as to how to calm you down. Having a support network around you is so important when doing things capable of making you anxious.
When travelling during the holiday period, it’s important to remember the journey is temporary.
Before you know it, you’ll have reached your destination and the fun can truly begin. This time is one of happiness and enjoyment, and you deserve to experience every single wonderful moment of it.
Holly Cooper is a writer, a dancer, a dreamer and an explorer from Tasmania, Australia. She's currently working full-time at a bookstore and blogs at Ramblings of a Fake Redhead. Holly is hoping to open up a shop in the near future, fulfilling her dream of being a small business owner, where she can provide customers with caffeine, cake and creativity. Holly is very passionate about providing advice and support to those living with mental illnesses and works alongside her local council in her city's Youth Advisory Group to provide assistance to those who need it.
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